Summary: After a wedding on Mars, John and Rodney face a hard situation with Sebastian and it will rock the foundations of their family.
Warnings: Wedding on Mars, filthy language, general sappy romance, and heavy discussion of past sexual abuse (not lurid), family therapy, death threats
Categories: Slash, Established Relationship, Alternate Universe, Contemporary
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended, seriously. I don’t own them. I don’t pretend to. This is just for fun. Don’t sue me—it would be a waste of your money. But, hey, these words are mine so don’t steal them and say they are yours.
– – – – –
The day John Sheppard had walked back into his life remained one of the best in his life. It had been several weeks after the Atlantis expedition had returned to Earth and Rodney hadn’t seen half the personnel that had survived in person. They’d been sequestered, protected from the political maneuverings of the IOA. Jack O’Neill had been vicious and unapologetic in his defense and sheltering of them—both the military and civilian personnel. Debriefings had been careful, controlled, and rigidly monitored by seasoned SGC personnel and hostility from the IOA had been met with stalling tactics on a level few on Earth had ever seen.
Colonel John Sheppard had emerged from the process as the new second in command of the SGC, and draped in several more medals. Rodney had watched the video recordings of the debriefings, watched Sheppard relate two years of misery and loss of life in hard, clipped tones. He was nothing like the man McKay had seen only for a few short hours at the Ancient outpost before the expedition had left Earth. His easy smile was gone, and his eyes didn’t shine with amusement and love of life the way they had the day he’d dropped his beautiful ass into the outpost’s control chair and changed the world as they all knew it.
Rodney had never regretted not going to Atlantis more than when he’d watched Sheppard detail the loss of every single scientist and soldier who had been placed in his care. He’d spared no feelings in his assessment of the support they’d received from the SGC and the IOA. His blunt and entirely justifiable harsh honesty hadn’t soothed any feelings but it hadn’t assigned blame either. John wasn’t a political animal and he didn’t pretend to be. He didn’t pander to the agendas of anyone and it showed in every single move he made, every word he spoke.
The first time Rodney saw him person again—three weeks after his return to Earth, strolling in the front door of his bar, dressed in BDUs, shiny combat boots, and a tight black t-shirt—his mouth had gone dry with want. When that lust had turned to love—he wasn’t entirely sure. Maybe it was the first time John had looked at him and smiled—a smile that went all the way to his eyes. Maybe it was that moment when he’d done that sexy leaning thing against the Jumper and told him that he was the first man to set foot on Mars. Maybe it was when John had wrapped himself around him, pressed his damp face against Rodney’s neck, and they’d both pretended he wasn’t crying with relief.
Now those beautiful green eyes were focused entirely on him, as if nothing else in the universe mattered as much and it was humbling. Not much humbled a man like McKay—not much could. His arrogance had been integral in his survival and he’d honed it like the battle skill it so clearly was.
They were surrounded by family and only the closest of friends. Radek Zelenka, who had spent twenty minutes fussing with the shields so that they could all safely stand on Mars, was now standing just behind him and to the right. When he’d asked the Czech scientist to stand with him, Zelenka had promptly cursed him out in his native language and hugged him so tightly that Rodney had to push him off to breathe.
John and all the men in his family had donned their dress mess uniforms and to say they were distracting would have been an understatement. Technically they were already married—a legal process they’d taken care of a few hours before in a judge’s office in Quebec with a giddy Prime Minister on hand with a digital camera. He’d been excited beyond words to win what had been dubbed the ‘marriage lotto’ by the media. Several states in the US and countries all over the world had offered themselves up to them for the chance to legalize their marriage. They’d immediately decided against any state in the US on the grounds that it wasn’t legal everywhere in the country. In the end, Canada had been the best choice because of McKay’s dual citizenship.
The last few months had been one hell of a ride but the reward was more than he could have ever hoped or imagined wanting. It had taken three Jumpers and a fully functioning shield to get the entire wedding party of thirty on Mars but it was worth it. His gaze flicked to the video camera that was recording and broadcasting the ceremony. News outlets all over the world had already tapped into the signal they were sending to the SGC much to their utter dismay but politics demanded they allow it. After all, they’d expended government resources to do this and a price had to be paid.
His gaze drifted over Patrick, Matthew, and David Sheppard—McKay wondered if John would ever stop being surprised to see his father and brothers there to support him. So many years had languished between them and despite appearances, not all of those wounds were healed. He looked toward Sebastian and found him safely tucked between Declan Frost and Sean Taylor holding Madison’s hand. The two men had become family in such a short time—always there to smooth the way and keep the world at bay. He couldn’t honestly imagine their lives without them. Ian Wilkes was on his feet, but a little pale. It had been nearly two months since the shooting, and he was still got tired easily. He’d insisted on coming, and Jimmy Martinson was silent but watchful at his side. Cameron Mitchell was hovering nearby, Rodney figured to provide backup in case Wilkes tipped over. Jeannie was standing with Sam, Jennifer and Carrie—all four of them were smiling, clearly thrilled to be on Mars for the big fat gay wedding of the century. This was his family. It was stunning—really—that all of these beautiful and brave people belonged to him.
“We are gathered here today to bear witness to the union of John and Rodney. Two people who have brought us all together—made us family in all the ways that matter.” Rodney focused on Jack O’Neill as he started speaking. The choice of who would officiate had been the easiest of all. John’s fingers tightened in his briefly and Rodney took a deep breath as O’Neill continued. “In their fierce determination, bravery, and love – all of us have found hope and the desire for more. I speak for everyone here when I tell you that we are honored and thrilled to share this with you. Today John and Rodney step onto a path no one from our world has ever traveled. In the tradition of the Banearan, they will bind themselves through words and through deeds until they depart this life. Rodney, the vows you make today will hold you bound to John for as long as you shall live. Do you accept this as the truth?”
“Speak your vows for all to bear witness.”
“John, I take you as my partner in all things, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your courage, strive to understand the sacrifices that you will make, and have faith in your love for me and our son through all our years and in all that life may bring us. I will help you when you need help, and turn to you when I need help. All of your battles will be my battles. Your enemies are my enemies. There is nothing I could not endure, nothing I could not survive to stand beside you. I choose you as the person I will love for the rest of my life.” Rodney’s fingers trembled slightly as he slid the dark gray ring on John’s hand and smiled when it started to glow.
“John, the vows you make today will hold you bound to Rodney for as long as you shall live. Do you accept this as the truth?”
“Speak your vows for all to bear witness.”
John rubbed his thumb across the top of McKay’s hand to sooth him. “Rodney, I take you as my partner in all things, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, I will respect your integrity, honor your choices, and have faith in your love for me and our son through all our years and in all that life may bring us. I will live for you, fight for you, shelter you when the universe demands too much of you and strive to be all that you need in this life and the next. There is nothing I would not endure, nothing I could not survive to stand beside you. I choose you as the person I will love for the rest of my life.” The ring slid on easily and glowed softly.
“Let all who witness, understand and accept that John and Rodney are bound in this life and in the next.” Jack paused. “Does the family of John Sheppard accept this union and honor the commitment of his bond?”
“Yes,” Patrick responded. “Without reservation.”
“Does the family of Rodney McKay accept this union and honor the commitment of his bond?”
“Oh yes,” Jeannie said with a smile and tears bright in her eyes. “Without reservation.”
“John, Rodney – you are now bound. May you know love and passion for the rest of your lives.” Jack took a slight step back.
John took a deep breath and shared a look of relief mixed with shock with Rodney. He’d begun to think they’d never get here and now they were done. Now they were married—twice over.
They both turned to look at Sebastian and they each raised an eyebrow in question.
Sebastian jerked his thumb towards the video camera. “The folks at home are probably waiting for a kiss or something.” He wiggled his eyebrows. “First kiss on Mars.”
“Third,” They both corrected and John laughed softly as he brought McKay to him. “God, Mer,” he whispered against lips he knew so well. “I love you, so much.”
Rodney sighed into the kiss. “John.”
– – – –
“I feel guilty.”
“Yeah.” John nodded as he maneuvered the Jumper off the ground. The rest of the wedding party had crowded into the other Jumpers to they could take one and disappear for a week to McKay’s private island. There would be a party when they get back. “Me, too. But he’ll be able to contact us if he needs to.”
“And he’s with family. Dad will take good care of him.”
“Yeah.” Rodney twisted his ring and sighed. “Still, this is the first time we’ve left him since he found us and it feels very wrong.”
“We’ll call in the morning and talk with him. It’s just a week, Mer. I think we’re entitled to a week alone.”
“Yeah.” Rodney nodded. “Sure. I’m sure all new parents feel this way.”
John sucked in a breath. “Okay, we can go home.”
“No, you know we can’t.” Rodney sighed. “I have a feeling once we start—the rings are going to make sex something of a priority. We can’t have that at home.”
“Cloak the Jumper. I know news crews have eyes on the sky trying to figure out where we’re going to land.”
John sighed and cloaked with a thought. “How are we going to leave him behind when we make the trip for Atlantis? Is it selfish to want to take him with us?”
“Yes,” Rodney admitted. “We both know it’s too dangerous and he’ll be safer on Earth.”
“Maybe I should go alone… that way one of us will be there… just in case.”
“I’m not letting you go without me John. We made that decision a long time ago. Granted, our circumstances have changed but it doesn’t change the fact that you need me on Atlantis to make her fly. Radek won’t be able to do it alone in the time we have. We can’t ask Sam to go because… well Christ, the twins won’t even be a year old when we go. Sebastian understands.”
“If we die out there it’ll be…”
“We won’t die,” Rodney murmured. “We can’t afford to risk dying, John. We can’t leave Sebastian alone again. It just wouldn’t be fair.”
– – – –
“You… John.” Rodney reached out blindly, his fingers clutching and scrambling for purchase against the back of John’s head as he came. “Fuck, I had no idea you enjoyed sucking my cock so much.”
John chuckled as he released him. “Is that all you’re getting from me?”
“Just emotions…” Rodney gasped. “No thoughts, yet. Nothing like words.”
“Yeah, me too.” John trailed his mouth upward over McKay’s stomach and allowed himself to linger over his nipples. “I felt the echo of your orgasm.”
Blue eyes widened and he sucked in a breath. “That’s… wow.”
“Yeah.” John agreed. He grabbed the lube he’d tossed on the bed earlier and flipped it open. “I want in you.”
“Yeah.” Rodney nodded and spread his legs. “That’ll be perfect.”
John grinned at the wanton display his partner made and shook his head. “I’m a lucky bastard.”
“Yeah?” Rodney asked softly. “I was thinking the same thing.” He rubbed the bottom of his foot against John’s thigh. “I love you so much, John, it’s like nothing I can explain.”
That startled him as he’d been fairly certain there was nothing in the universe that McKay couldn’t explain to him. He pushed two slick fingers into McKay, and watched blue eyes darken with pleasure. Rodney was probably the pushiest bottom in the Universe so John knew he wouldn’t be allowed to play long.
“Can you feel this?” Rodney asked softly.
John fought back a shudder of echoed pleasure as he grazed Rodney’s prostate. “A little. The physical stuff is pale compared to the emotions I’m getting from you. I know how much you want it. I can feel that like it’s my own need.” He watched with a smug smile as McKay’s cock stirred and started to fill again. “I love you, Mer. I never thought I’d have something like this with anyone.”
McKay made impatient ‘come here’ motions with his hands and John laughed as he settled over his partner’s sprawled body. Their gazes met as he pressed against Rodney’s entrance and then pushed in with a single, determined thrust. The connection that had burned between them since they’d put on the rings bloomed in that instant of raw physical contact and they started to tremble.
Rodney pulled John close, wrapping both arms around him as they started to rock together in a way that was both familiar and very new. Emotions poured like water between them and in those long nearly silent moments, he finally understood what it meant to be bonded to another person. The vows they’d spoken between them felt rich and full in his mind.
“My John,” he whispered.
“Yes, yours,” John promised. “Always.”
– – – – –
“So, everything is fine at home?”
“Yeah, but it’s only been two days.” John gamely took the sun block McKay offered and watched with a little smile as his scientist tackled the gas grill like it was some piece of alien technology, except this one came with a manual. “It pisses you off that the Ancients didn’t leave instructions, right?”
Rodney glanced at him with a well practiced glare. “To the very depths of my soul.”
John laughed and dropped down on to a lounge chair. He made quick work of spreading the lotion over his face and then spread it liberally over all the places he could reach that weren’t covered by the shorts he was wearing. “It’s not as… pressing as I thought it would be.”
“I know what you mean. The way the Jaffa talk about the rings—they make it seem like things are really intense and wild.”
“Maybe it’s because we’ve been together for so long already,” John murmured as he slid his sunglasses into place and relaxed. “I mean—the Jaffa are a pretty stoic group. The Banearans aren’t much more expressive. Maybe it’s like that for them because they’re forced to release so much emotion.”
“Yeah,” McKay frowned as he adjusted the flame on the grill. “That makes sense. They only seem to get really emotional when they are fighting. I mean, even sitting across the negotiation table with them has always been a sedate affair. Even when they were discussing rebellion and the freedom of their whole race.”
“Sort of like really big somewhat more creepy Vulcans.”
Rodney laughed but sent a glare John’s way. “Yeah, something like that. It takes a lot to get a rise out of Teal’c and he’s the progenitor of their rebellion. I wonder how he keeps all that fury and hatred banked. I don’t know how he does it.”
“Well, your emotions pretty much run on the surface. It’s one of the things I’ve always liked about you. It’s obvious to everyone how you feel about something. I like that I don’t have to worry about it.”
“Yeah,” John confirmed. “One thing about my ex-wife, she would carry a problem around for weeks and I’d never have a clue that she was pissed off until she blew like a volcano.”
“What do you think she wants?”
John sighed. “I have no clue, Mer. I really don’t. Do you want me to talk to her?”
“Hell no, but she’s called several times and I think it’s important that we get some intel on that situation. Could she have anything she could use against you?”
“Besides the fact that I left her because I realized I was most sincerely gay?” John asked with a little grin. “No, I can’t imagine it. We never played any kinky games or anything remotely like that. I was faithful during our marriage, even if she didn’t think so. She was a jealous and paranoid woman.”
“Paranoid?” Rodney shrugged. “Not so much, John. She had to know you weren’t satisfied with her and that would make anyone wonder if there was someone else. She just had no clue she had no hope of keeping you satisfied in your marriage. So, no video footage or pictures of the two of you fucking?”
“No, I mean, not with my knowledge or consent. I don’t know why it would have occurred to her to do something like that back then. She certainly had no way of knowing I’d hook up with the smartest man on the planet and lead a mission off the planet that would make me stupidly famous.”
Rodney chuckled. “Okay, given. Did you see the poster of you and Sebastian that the Pentagon wants to release?”
John sighed. “Yes, I don’t like it.”
“It’s a great picture of you. I remember when he jumped out of that X-302 and you caught him—I thought it would make a great picture. I have copies of the original stuff from the photographer who was on site at the time.” Rodney shrugged when John turned and looked at him. “Don’t glare at me with your sunglasses on, flyboy, I can still tell. It’s a great picture and it speaks to a lot of what we want to do with the Stargate program.”
“Everyone thinks that the Stargate program is about technology and war. For me it’s about protecting our people, our families. Every minute, every hour I’ve given the SGC in the past three years has been about protecting Earth. I don’t care about Nobel Prizes, publications… any of that. There was a time when I did. I mean, there was a time when I thought that the Nobel Prize was the only thing on Earth that mattered. Now, I’ve got this large extended family that I never expected to have and everything I do is about protecting them.” He dropped the steaks on to the grill in the silence that followed and then sighed. “And it’s certainly what I want to teach Sebastian—it’s what I want him to grow up believing.”
“Are you worried that this Millennium Problem thing is going to take him in a direction other than that?”
“I want his future shaped by his heart and not by his ambition,” Rodney murmured. “I don’t want him to be like I was before I died.”
“I really hate it when you talk about that.”
John rolled out of the lounge chair and went to McKay. He slid up behind the man and wrapped his arms around him. “Mer?”
“I’ll never be a nice person, John. I’m far too impatient with most people for that to happen but I do want to be a good person.”
“You’re the best man I’ve ever known, McKay. I trust you, love you, and I would follow you where ever you wanted to go because I know whatever we did once we got there would be just and necessary. I know you’re worried about charging ZPMs. We both know how destructive that technology has the potential to be.”
“I’m more worried about the orbital weapons platforms,” Rodney murmured. “Right now we have a good man in the White House but there may come a time when we don’t. Then what? I’ll have armed a monster to the teeth and given him the kind of weapons he would need to control the whole planet.”
“Can you put in a failsafe to prevent them from being used against Earth?”
Rodney paused and then sighed. “It would have to be a secret if I did. The President would never tolerate it if he knew. I mean, even if he is a good man he wouldn’t want his hands tied like that.”
“I don’t care about that,” John responded. “I really don’t. What could you do?”
“I can prevent them from firing on the planet and I can also set up the shield to automatically engage if someone breaks my coding and turns the platforms towards a target on Earth.”
“What if we’re invaded and a ship lands on the planet?”
“The destructive power of the platforms makes firing on a target on the planet a very bad idea. The weapon on full power could punch a hole in the planet’s surface, John. We didn’t build a water gun up there and with the power of a ZPM… the power those two weapons could produce would be horrific. Extinction level in the right circumstances.”
“Would the shield hold out against it?”
“Maybe long enough for people to realize it’s a bad idea to fire on our own planet.” Rodney leaned back against him. “I never wanted to make weapons, John. Not ever. The fact is that any one of the ships in the fleet could utterly destroy this planet in a matter of days. What I did on Langara could be duplicated here without much of a problem—especially since we have detailed maps of the fault lines on this planet. I was taking educated guesses on that world after a single sensory pass.”
“It’s cliché but we’re just going to have trust the rest of the world. If we start fighting amongst ourselves—the Ori and the Wraith will have a very easy battle once they start knocking on our front door.”
– – – – –
“You’re pushing yourself too hard.”
Ian shot Jimmy a glare and increased his pace on the treadmill. “I’m due at OCS in three weeks, Jim. I can’t… I can’t afford to fuck around on this.”
“You can put it off.”
“No, I can’t. I won’t let them down after everything they had to do to keep me.” He finished off his fifth mile in silence, glancing at Jimmy just once more before he started to slow down and let his body cool. “Look, Dr. Lam is watching me like a hawk. Trust me; I’m not getting away with anything. They’re using those Ancient healing devices on me daily and I’ve gotten more full body scans than anyone else in the history of this planet. I’ve just got to tone up and increase my stamina. I’m really good, right now.”
Jimmy rubbed his head with an air of frustration and frowned. “I just don’t want you to have a set back and get hurt, that’s all.”
“I won’t. Honestly, my body has adjusted to the loss of the kidney better than anyone thought I would. The one I have left is actually working better on its own than the two I had to begin with.”
“All Hail Ancient tech,” Jimmy muttered and tossed Ian a towel as he left the treadmill. “Maybe they’ll grow you a new one.”
Ian grimaced. “That option was actually on the table for a while but getting a cloned organ could actually put me more at risk than running on one. What if my body rejected it? I’d be in a world of shit and I’m honestly not interested in being the test case on that front. I understand that Keller is working on cloned organs for people on the waiting list for new organs. I certainly wouldn’t want to take time and attention from someone on that list when I’ve got a perfect one that serves me just fine.”
“Yeah.” Jimmy followed him to a gym mat and sat down across from him to join him in stretching. “I get that.”
“What are you doing?” Ian asked as he leaned forward and grabbed one ankle.
“You don’t think I’m going to let any of the assholes on this base spar with you, do you?” Jimmy frowned at him. “They might hurt you.”
“Not on purpose.”
Jimmy snorted. “Keep thinking that, Pollyanna. There are plenty of jerks on this base that have a real problem with Sheppard and anything he touches—that includes you.”
“And you?” Ian asked.
“Yeah, sometimes. I don’t get much grief because I’m likely to kick their ass first and ask them to explain themselves later.” Jimmy smirked when Ian laughed. “Once we get you back up to your fighting weight—I’ll let you kick a few marines around.”
– – – – –
“So, what’s up with the kid?” Matt asked as he leaned against his father’s desk. “I just saw him with Zelenka and it looks like he hasn’t slept since they left.”
Patrick Sheppard grimaced. “I don’t know. Every time I check on him, it looks like he’s asleep. I don’t want to pressure him into talking to me and Jennifer hasn’t gotten anywhere with him either. He’s saying all the right things but he looks exhausted.” Patrick tossed a pen across his desk and glared at his youngest son. “It’s been a while since I’ve had to deal with someone his age, you know.”
Matt laughed. “Yeah, I bet.”
“So, I’m going over there every day with him after he finishes his lessons with Zelenka. I make sure to eat all of my meals with him. Hell, I even played on his Xbox with him last night, but I’m not them and to be frank he imprinted on the two of them like a little duck.” Patrick shot his son a concerned look. “How the hell are we going to be there for him when they go for Atlantis?”
“I don’t know,” Matt murmured. “But we agreed that’s why you and David were to stay in their house now. You’ll be the two we leave here… maybe the two of you should just move until after the Atlantis mission. I mean, I know you spend a lot of time there but you spend in your quarters at the SGC or in the suite of rooms you have in DC.”
“I didn’t want to intrude on them,” Patrick explained. “My relationship with John is fragile, Matt. I don’t know how I would deal with it if it were broken again. I gave up too much time with him. He built a life and a family without me, without us and that kills me sometimes. Sometimes I’d like to take Jack O’Neill out and kick his ass.”
Matt’s mouth dropped open. “Dad!”
“What?” Patrick glared at the surface of his desk. “He’s been more a father to John than I ever was, Matt. He accepted him, protected him, and had faith in his abilities when others doubted him. He sheltered John when he came back from Atlantis, broken and furious. O’Neill carved out a place in his mountain for John and kept him safe while he healed. I had very little to do with the man your brother is and it makes me…”
“Jealous?” O’Neill asked dryly from the doorway.
“For a start,” Patrick admitted but relaxed under Jack’s knowing and serious gaze. He probably would have lost his mind if the younger man had smirked at him. “I’m angry at myself, Jack, not you.”
“I know.” O’Neill cleared his throat. “John and I discussed something before he left but I wanted to check in with you before I did it.”
“Today is my son Charlie’s birthday. He would have been nineteen. I’d like to take Sebastian with me to visit his grave.” Jack looked away from them both. “John has a lot of weapons in his house and we agreed that Sebastian needed to meet Charlie. John and Rodney both talked with Sebastian about guns but…”
“Agreed,” Patrick responded when O’Neill trailed off. “Just the two of you?”
“Yeah, just me this time. Sam normally goes with me but I think this would be… it’s not easy talking about it. We’re going to beam over.” Jack frowned. “But, after just having heard what I heard… I’m a little concerned here.”
“I’m just an old man bitching about something I lost, Jack. It really has nothing to do with you. I think it’s a very good idea for Sebastian to go with you. He’s seen his share of gun violence and he’s too smart for his own good. I’d hate for him to pick up a weapon and hurt himself or someone else.”
Jack nodded and then paused. “You know, it’s not true.”
“What’s not true?”
“That you had nothing to do with the man John is. We’ve all seen what kind of man can come out of a bad home. You made a few mistakes with him but to be honest, all three of your sons are you remade. If Thor was still around, I’d ask him if the Asgard cloned you.” Jack just grinned when Patrick frowned at him. “Bad attitude and all.”
Matt laughed. “Hey! I haven’t got a bad attitude.”
– – – – –
Sebastian sat down on a bench beside Jack O’Neill and stared at the ivory grave stone that marked the resting place of another child. “Would he have liked me?”
“Yeah, he was a smart ass, too,” Jack murmured. “Of course, he would be much older than you if he had lived.”
“Did you get mad at him for what he did?”
“No, God, no.” Jack took a deep breath. “I was angry at myself for a very long time. There are a few years after he died that I barely even remember. I let myself get so caught up in grief for him that everything else just fell apart around me.”
“Were you good to him?”
“I tried really hard,” Jack admitted. “I loved him very much.”
“Then he’s okay,” Sebastian kicked at the dry grass underneath their feet and took a deep breath. “My mom told me she loved me every day. I don’t remember a day when she didn’t. It means a lot to me because now that she’s gone—that’s all I have of her.”
“He liked baseball and hockey. I tried to make him like fishing but he said it was boring,” Jack admitted with a small smile. “I miss him every day.”
“My Dad told me how he died.”
“I told him that he should.”
Sebastian nodded. “My mom told me that life is about the living. She said that to me when my grandma died. I try to remember that but I have to say life sucks some times. She sheltered me, you know.”
“How?” Jack asked.
“Life was sort of… perfect with her. When my grandma died it hurt a lot but in other ways it was peaceful and I accepted that she was in a better place. It didn’t seem unfair when she died—it just felt like it was natural.” Sebastian took a deep breath. “When my mom died, that felt really unfair and horrible. Nothing had ever hurt like that before.”
“And you were mad at her?”
“Yeah, because I wasn’t prepared. She didn’t get me ready for that. It just came out of nowhere. I never thought… I never thought she’d leave me.” Sebastian took a deep breath. “I wouldn’t do that to my family. You don’t have to worry that I’ll pick up one of my Dad’s guns to play with. I’d never hurt any of you like that.”
“Your mom didn’t leave you on purpose, Sebastian.”
“I know,” Sebastian murmured. “I know it in my head.”
“But your heart?”
“I’m still pretty pissed about it, actually. Dr. Kate says that’s okay because I’m being honest with myself and since foster care sucked the big one—I’ve got a lot of anger built up over all of that.”
“It’s good that you’ve got Dr. Kate to talk to,” Jack murmured. “But you can talk to us, too, you know. Your Dads would do anything to help you.”
– – – – –
Patrick Sheppard was listening to O’Neill inform the command center of his intention to beam into the conference room while General Derrick Smythe from the Pentagon droned on and on about a project he wanted McKay to spearhead. So he wasn’t as surprised as everyone else when O’Neill beamed into the room with Sebastian at his side.
“Hey, kiddo.” Patrick favored his only grandchild with a fond smile. “Your Uncle Matt is taking a few scientists to Europa in a Jumper on a sensory sweep mission and wanted to know if you were up for a trip.”
Sebastian grinned. “Absolutely.”
Patrick nodded and clicked his radio over to the family channel McKay had set aside for them. “Matt, Sebastian is in the conference room and ready to go when you are.” He clicked off his radio and returned his attention to Smythe. “Now, as you were saying?”
“Shouldn’t we wait until the child…”
“My grandson’s physics homework is more complicated than this project,” Patrick returned evenly.
Smythe smirked and then snorted. “So, not just another pretty face in the Sheppard family?”
Sebastian paled and his eyes darkened in fury. “I’m not a little girl, General and it would be inappropriate for me to lecture a man of your age on judging a person by their physical appearance, wouldn’t it?”
Before anyone could respond the door opened and Matt stuck his head in. “Come on, kid, Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Phelps are ready to have a stroke they are so excited.” He turned to his father. “The Apollo will be in orbit above the moon during the entire exercise with orders to beam him out immediately if we have a single issue, no matter how small.”
“Good.” Patrick frowned as Sebastian slipped out of the room. “His backpack is in my office if he needs it.”
“Sure. Jenkins set up a tablet PC so he could participate in the experiment. They are pretty jazzed to bring him along for the study. I think they’re trying to kiss McKay’s ass but that’s okay.” He pulled the door shut with that and left the three of them alone.
“Patrick…” Smythe took a deep breath. “I didn’t mean anything by what I said. I was poking at you.”
“I know, Derrick.” Patrick sighed. “Let’s finish this up and we’ll put it in McKay’s pile but you have to know that it’ll be on the back burner until after the Atlantis project.”
– – – – –
John dug his toes into the sand and pulled McKay back against his chest as they settled on the beach. “The first time I came here I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to enjoy it and the second time we came here—I was still sort of surprised that I was alive.”
Rodney nodded and relaxed against John’s chest, pleased to be nestled between his lover’s legs. The position was intimate but not sexual – they’d learned throughout the week that the bonding rings had far more intimate and mental consequences than physical ones. Granted, their love making had been at times both brutal and gentle but was no more frequent than any other time they’d had large stretches of time alone.
“I miss him like crazy.”
“Yeah,” John murmured and pressed a kiss against his neck. “I can’t… I don’t know how I can leave him behind for the Atlantis mission.”
“We can’t take him. The Joint Chiefs of Staff would never agree and the President would have to side with them. We have a finite amount of space on the Phoenix and we can’t sign him on as crew.” Rodney chuckled. “Even if he’s smarter than most of the people we’re taking along for the ride. He’ll be with your Dad while we’re gone.”
“Not the same.”
“No,” Rodney curled his hands over John’s and rubbed his bare feet against the sand. “But he loves Sebastian and would never hurt him the way he hurt you. He learned that lesson the hard way, John.”
“I know,” John closed his eyes. “I really do know that. I can’t believe how things came together for us this past year. Sometimes I think that I’m going to have to pay for all of this in some big horrible way.”
Rodney laughed. “Well, it hasn’t all been roses, John. Maybe we’ve been paying for it along the way with you know—stuff like bullets flying and kidnappings.”
“Maybe,” John murmured and pressed a kiss against his temple. “Just maybe.”